I didn't expect such a vast amount of comments for this quick review. I will try to explain why I can't recommend this game and how I came to +250h ingame time, just scroll down to the text under the original review.
---- Original review ----
Do NOT buy this game - even if it is cheap!
The game is still full of bugs even after 2 years and UBISOFT stopped supporting the game.
No new patch, no apology, NOTHING. They just got your money, why should they care?
The game itself could have been great but with all the fuss I had to endure I won't recommend this piece of garbage to anyone. Trust me, you're better off with buying games which actually deserve your support.
I repeat: DO NOT BUY THIS GAME. Show UBISOFT that they can't treat customers like this.
1) My rig at the time I bought this game:
- Intel i5 2400
- Nvidia N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC
- ASRock P67 Pro3 (B3)
- Spinpoint F1 1000GB, SATA II (HD103UJ) then ADATA S511 120GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD
- ADATA 2x4GB 1333MHz CL9
2) How did you freak manage to get to +250h game time?
You can subtract at least a third for the time I encountered crashes, game bugs which forced me to restart a map or simple idle time.
I'm also a completionist, an achievement wh*re. In maps without a time frame I usually pick up every treasure, kill every monster and do every sidequest. This type of playstyle is time consuming :).
Now take into account that I encountered nasty bugs which forced me to replay a map or browse the web for a solution. And there is also my profile swap which I will explain later.
3) Is this a rant against Ubisoft or the game? Why didn't put the game aside and waited for a patch?
The game itself could have been great!
But it is still bugged and you have to find a way if you want to continue the story. Some achievements are luck based - you get them or not. The only way to get them is to replay the campaign map.
I put the game aside for a couple of months in between patch 1.5 until 1.8. The discount on the DLC (-50%) drawn me back.
Hope dies last. I wanted to give UBISOFT and their new developer team a chance to fix the game. It's better now but the NVIDIA black screen bug is still there and now they dropped their support.
How can I recommend a bugged game to anyone? I simply can not.
4) Which (nasty) bugs did you encounter in your long journey?
My guess would be 90% because I explored the whole map ;). Just a simple summary about the fixed bugs I encountered in previous game versions and the ones that are still there.
I. Nvidia Black Screen Bug (still there)
You play the game and suddenly it freezes. Most of the time it's a black screen while the sound is still played. It can happen randomly or it can be reproduced via savegame. Sometimes it can happen in a fight or (no kidding) by walking over a certain spot on the map. I managed to continue the story by loading the savegame and trying every angle.
As mentioned above I had a HDD at that time which had a horrible loading time :). From patch to patch there have been improvements or it would get worse. I never rolled back my drivers but I can play it almost without crashes now.
I can not safely say which GFX will work without problems. Some do, some don't.
II. The achievement swap bug (fixed)
Right after a patch a new feature was introduced - looking at achievements of other players.
Beeing a jolly fellow I wanted to test it and look where I stand. Bad idea ---
My ~85% done achievement list was copied from the one I looked at - a 30% done player.
I spent some time to find someone who had at least 80% done and never used that feature again. Guess what - I still had to replay a lot of maps to get that ONE damn missing achievement :).
I talked to the UBISOFT customer service that they get my achievements back but they told be that they can't do anything which I do not understand even today. After the short "We're sorry that we f*cked up but you have to fix it on your own" conversation I bit my tongue and played on.
UBISOFT was so kind to give me a dynasty weapon that I already owned as a compensation :).
I contacted the customer service three times about different game related problems and none of them have been resolved.
III. The plague bug (fixed)
One of my favorites. I happened to meet this little fellow three times.
There is no creature growth, in fact it is negative. You can't get any creatures because "week of the plague" is active all the time. No creatures means that you have to end the map with the creature stacks you have as your army. Might sound funny but it slows your combat down because you can't afford to lose any unit :).
IV. The little bugs (fixed and still there)
- Achievements that only trigger sometimes (an example would be in the DLC - the treasure achievement which I tried to get recently)
- Crash spots in the the map (also in the DLC and the original game)
- Spell or creature related bugs e.g. the famous griffin bug (The creature would not deal any damage when using their special ability). Still a vast amount out there. Some players couldn't finish the tutorial (!) because their creatures wouldn't heal. A game which has a lot of different spell/creature combinations can have a few bugs but not to that amount.
- Dynasty weapon which would get lost if you didn't put them on a charater and saved (reloaded) the map. There is still a nasty bug which will happen if you reload the map and use certain class spells (e.g. dark) while having certain dynasty weapons equipped (the spell power goes down, permanently).
This is an endless list. If you want to dig any deeper just visit the UBISOFT forum and click on the 334 pages long bug thread.
I could write a little bit more about the game's story and how the maps are designed.
The story is fine and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The map design, especially the new DLC (new developers) is brilliant.
Why won't I still recommand the game?
Because the release version was horrible, the customer "service" doesn't deserve the name and the game itself is still a huge pile of bugs with a few moments of happiness.
With a continued support (multiplayer = bug-ridden) and an open communication between the fans and the developers this could have been the best game in the series.
It is not.
I will change my review in that way:
If you have an ATI GFX or don't mind restarts, if you are not interested in achievements and are able to restart maps without getting angry then this might be a game for you.
About the DRM/Uplay, it is annoying but not that important to me.
We're using Steam which is the same but has a lot more time on the market.
Granted, Uplay is horrible and I got kicked out of the game every time their servers went down.
I developed a habit to press the quicksave button after every turn because I had to reload an older savegame a couple of times. I have a 50Mbit cable connection and traffic is not an issue.
On the other hand I never played Mass Effect 3 because of Origin :). I will though.
Well, I am done. Thank you for reading and I wish you all the very best!